Rep. Bradley Slagh | House GOP photo
State Rep. Bradley Slagh (R-Zeeland) announced Tuesday that his absence from 62 votes at the end of 2021 can be attributed to contracting COVID-19. The announcement comes after the Missed Votes Report released by the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganVotes.org highlighted those missed votes.
The report showed that Slagh missed all votes that took place in the House from Dec. 7 to Dec. 14. In a press release released Tuesday, Slagh announced he had been quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19. Slagh said he takes his role as representing Ottawa County “very seriously” and had not missed a single vote before contracting COVID-19.
“I had a perfect voting record going into the last two weeks of House session when I unfortunately tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” Slagh said. “In keeping with House protocol, as well as CDC guidelines, I fulfilled the required days of quarantine. As I had no choice but to stay home from Lansing for the last week of session, I sadly missed 62 votes.”
He did not indicate if he had been vaccinated against COVID or received a booster shot.
Slagh had previously not announced that he had COVID-19 until this week’s press release — issued about a month later.
In September, the Legislature passed Slagh-sponsored legislation that would ban Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from using an emergency response system to alert the public of pandemic health orders. However, while Whitmer did alert residents four times in 2020, she used the integrated public alert and warning system (IPAWS) that wasn’t included in HB 4061. Whitmer vetoed the bill.
Slagh joined a group of eight representatives and two senators who missed more than 50 votes in 2021. In the House of Representatives, state Rep. Steve Marino (R-Harrison Twp.) — who had been accused of domestic abuse by Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) — missed the most, being absent from 232 votes.
In the Senate, state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) missed the most, being absent from 118 votes. In February, she acknowledged taking maternity leave could hurt her politically but defended the decision as an important one. In November, both she and her baby contracted COVID.
“This is a political risk. I know that. If I miss a vote in-person, expect it to be an attack ad against me in 2022. But are we okay with the message that working moms cannot be legislators? That we don’t want anyone in office who understands being a parent or caretaker?” McMorrow tweeted.
Throughout both chambers, only 14 senators and 44 representatives did not miss a single vote this year.
Within both Michigan chambers, 38 senators and 110 representatives were absent for a total of 2,260 roll call votes in 2021.
In the Legislature, lawmakers often miss multiple votes due to family, health or personal reasons. Legislators also sometimes do not vote on a piece of legislation if they have a conflict of interest or if they have been needed off the floor for other legislative processes.
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